I just wanted to take a moment and recognize the folks over at Popular Science magazine for their Web efforts. They quietly launched a redesigned site, PopSci.com, in 2008. It’s built on the Drupal platform and one way of looking at it is that, functionally, it’s a group blog. Each navigational bucket along the top represents a category, but all posts/articles/stories appear time-stamped in reverse chronological order on the home page.
If you haven’t checked it out, I recommend.
It offers a unique model for a traditional print company to leverage their assets on the Web. It also gives me hope that old media companies will come to realize that a blog is just as easily (and perhaps more helpfully) understood as a medium, not as a genre.
4 thoughts on “The best new magazine Web site of 2008”
I just did a little project for my magazine editing class on Popular Mechanics, and I noticed the same thing about their website (www.popularmechanics.com.) They don’t make a big deal about their timestamps, since the material is pretty much just republished from the print version, but it’s a similar set-up, with articles in reverse chronological order under all categories.
I guess I was a little alarmed that they didn’t have a fancier, more interactive website, but you’re making the argument that the blog setup is as good a medium as any. Interesting!
More than anything, I was impressed that they’ve embraced blogging as a medium.
Could it be fancier? Yes. But I think one of the reasons it works so well is that it is simple and streamlined. It’s designed with the user in mind. They’re after a younger, more tech-savvy audience; one that subscribes to multiple RSS feeds and excels at customizing the information they want for themselves. This is perfect for that.
Could it be more interactive? Yes. But I’m not sure too many magazine brands have figured that out yet. I’ve often thought the ‘interactive’ answer for a magazine was to launch an online community. The trouble is that old media types often struggle with the concept of relinquishing complete control of their brand to the community.
What did you think of Popular Mechanics? What was your conclusion, so to speak?
Well, I checked out the website as part of a magazine editing project in which I came up with all these cool web tools and applications they could apply to go along with a theoretical package I’d plotted and edited for the print version. So I was sort of expecting more calculators, quizzes, etc. and fewer plain ol’ articles. Then again, I’m not their typical reader, and the magazine websites I do frequent (www.self.com or http://www.marieclaire.com, for example) are packed with fun things like virtual hair salons and calorie calculators.
It’s a phase one project … meaning one may want to consider weighing the business requirements of the project against personal expectations before passing final judgment http://drupal.org/node/233090